Friday, January 30, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Creationist Logic (or lack thereof)

I was browsing Creation Moments for something quick to post, and it didn't take me long to find this gem. It's from an article discussing whether Noah's flood was local or global:

After the Flood, God made a covenant promise with Noah and all mankind that the waters would never again become a flood to destroy all flesh (Gen. 9:11-15). There have been many local floods since, so either God has broken His covenant promise or the Genesis Flood was global.

This lazy, sloppy logic reminds me of CS Lewis's pathetic "trilemma" argument, in which Lewis states that since Jesus claimed to be God, he must either be "Lord, liar or lunatic", then sets out to disprove the latter two options (and fails). Lewis's brand of apologetics is famous for featuring false choices presented as logical arguments, and is easily refuted.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Modern genetics proves conclusively that all life on earth is related to a single ancestor, and provides a remarkably accurate way to determine how closely certain species or animal populations are related to each other. Creationists, however, reject evolution and common descent, which poses problems for them with regards to the classification of life. Baraminology is the ham-fisted, pseudoscientific result. It stems, of course, from the bible:

Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so.

Genesis 1:24

So God created the different kinds of animals, and you'll often hear creationists talking about "kinds" as if it's a definable term. But it's a vague and imprecise distinction, and we really need better definitions than "creeping things" and "beasts". Baraminologists therefore attempt to classify life into kinds, or "baramin", using techniques shamelessly stolen from evolutionary biology. Since God created the "dog" kind, but not individual breeds of dogs (these are man-made by selective breeding, a genuine form of evolution which even the most hardened creationists are forced to admit to), baraminology has to include in its model some genetic mutation and diversification down the generations. Sound familiar? Check out one of their diagrams:

...which bears more than a little resemblance to the evolutionary "tree of life":

From creationwiki:

Genetic and physiological similarities are not seen as evidence of common ancestry, because there is no evidence available to refute the possibility that the genetic similarities are a result of a similar design being used on different "kinds."

This is the same flawed logic as saying "the theory of gravity is rejected because there is no evidence available to refute the possibility of God pushing objects downwards".

While the baraminologist's model is basically evolution-lite, and concedes a lot of ground to the opposition (including the occurence of macroevolution), it does go some way to explaining how Noah fitted all those animals onto his ark, since he would only have needed two of each kind, not two of each species. This is the main reason for the popularity of the word "kinds" among creationists, and is a good demonstration of how these ignorami place a greater importance on their ridiculous and childish stories than on the real world.

You can read more about the fascinating world of baraminology here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Remarkable Precision

Heaven and earth, centre and circumference, were created together, in the same instant, and clouds full of water. . . . this work took place and man was created by the Trinity on the twenty-third of October, 4004 B.C., at nine o'clock in the morning.

John Lightfoot (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge), 1859

Monday, January 19, 2009

Creationists That Look Like Apes: George W Bush

In honour of his last day on the job.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Unintelligent Design II: The Panda's Thumb

The Panda's Thumb is a much more serious and scientific blog countering creationism, and I recommend it. It's named after a very famous piece of unintelligent design. A panda's paw consists of five digits each with a claw, similar to a regular bear. But pandas also have a sixth digit, a rudimentary opposably thumb that evolved from a small bone called a radial sesamoid, which in bears and other creatures is only used for strengthening connective tissue. Pandas can press this thumb against their palms and use it to grip bamboo shoots. If the panda had been designed for eating bamboo, it would make much more sense to have a "proper" opposable thumb like the rest of us.

You can read more about the panda's thumb here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Where Did The Light Come From?

Grigory taught [Smerdyakov] to read and write, and when he was twelve years old, began teaching him the Scriptures. But this teaching came to nothing. At the second or third lesson the boy suddenly grinned.

"What's that for?" asked Grigory, looking at him threateningly from under his spectacles.

"Oh, nothing. God created light on the first day, and the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day. Where did the light come from on the first day?"

Grigory was thunderstruck. The boy looked sarcastically at his teacher. There was something positively condescending in his expression. Grigory could not restrain himself. "I'll show you where!" he cried and gave the boy a violent slap on the cheek.

The Brothers Karamazov

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Slow Evolution and Slow Mindedness

It must be impossible to distill creationist stupidity into a more concise form than the following statement, made by North Carolina resident Joel Fanti:
If evolution is so slow, why don't we see anything evolving now?

Joel Fanti

Via PZ.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where Did The Earth's Water Come From?

If you thought the email in my previous post was stupid, wait until you read this letter, published in the Dothan Eagle and brought to the blogosphere's attention by Pharyngula's PZ Myers. Here's an excerpt:

Of all the mysteries surrounding evolution, the one that is most baffling to the evolutionists, is "water." Where did all the oceans come from?

As explained on the National Geographic program, it came from a massive collision in space. As the Earth was cooling from the Big Bang, it was approached by a stray planet that was teeming with water. It collided with Earth, spilled its water onto the Earth, then careened off into space.

Talk about fairy tales. By the way, where did the stray planet get its water?

Come on evolutionists, surely you can develop a more plausible explanation that can be easier to swallow. Until then, I accept the Bible's answer. After all, the 4,000-year-old book has a perfect track record.

But here's the rub: the bible doesn't actually provide an answer to where the Earth's water came from. Here's what it says:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

Genesis 1:1-7

So it seems that the water was already there to begin with, before god even showed up.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Pterosaurs of Guantanamo

An email posted on this webpage:
This year I bought a computer, got on the web and am enjoying the fruits of this "Information Age". Naturally, I've investigated sites which are of especial interest to myself...such as Pterosaurs. Why pterosaurs? Because in the summer of 1971 while stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, I saw 2 of them flying leisurely overhead at no more than 200 ft distance. I haven't had much success telling people about it - they're all believers of the lies of evolution, etc. Now with the internet I've seen some corroboration. When I wrote to National Geographic years ago they informed me that Pterosaurs have been extinct for millions of years. Shows what they know. The arrogance of people amazes me. They're in New York, I was in Cuba; but they feel confident telling me what I saw. I wish someone would shoot one or capture it alive and cram it down National Geographic's throat.

Thanks for the site,

Eskin Cuhn

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Henry Rollins on Intelligent Design

Henry Rollins sums it up nicely:

Via Josh Stein.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dust Shalt Thou Eat

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.

Genesis 3:14

When was the last time you saw a serpent eating dust?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ken Ham: Man is a Sinner


BM: Scientists line up overwhelmingly on one side of this issue. It would have to be an enormous conspiracy going on between scientists of all different disciplines, in all different countries, to have such a consensus. That doesn’t move you?

KH: No, not at all, because from a biblical perspective I understand why the majority would not agree with the truth. Man is a sinner, man is rebelling against his creator.

BM: All these scientists are sinners?

KH: Well… (shrugs)

Ken Ham, discussing creationism with Bill Maher in the documentary Religulous.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Moron of the Month: Steven Robinson

Steven Robinson runs the website As you might expect, it's intellectually vacant drivel with the usual moribund creationist arguments, but at least it has some originality. Here's his theory:

In this website it is suggested that the world, although created, was subsequently destroyed and thereby metamorphosed, so that its ultimate origin was hidden. This is inferred from both rocks and fossils. We cannot go all the way back to the beginning, but what has been preserved and can be investigated points back to a creation.

So God is covering his tracks?

If all the evidence suggests that the Earth and life arose by natural processes, what should we conclude? That indeed they did, or that God made them look that way? Ever heard of Occam's razor, Steven? He goes on:

‘Life’ is something different from molecules. Life has to do with consciousness. Although bacteria and plants use the same DNA language as other organisms, they are not life in the sense that animals are. Our own experience as conscious beings tells us that there is more to reality than can be accounted for by molecules, however complex their organisation.

“Life has to do with consciousness.” It should be obvious to a child that defining life in this way can't work. First, is an unconscious person dead by this definition? Second, how do you know animals are conscious in the same way that we are? Granted that cats and dogs seem to be conscious on some intuitive level (which is already difficult to define), but what about a worm or a clam? Are these animals "less alive"? There is no clear line one can draw to separate organisms that seem conscious from those that appear not to be. And if Steven concedes that plants are material objects that could have come about by natural processes, then why not animals too, since they are made from exactly the same building blocks.

This is a classic example of how creation science is invariably wordy, superficial and lacking in any real substance once you probe beyond the surface and start asking about the details. Where is the evidence for this claim? Where is the data? Steven has none, just his own ill-conceived opinions.

Certain ancient oral traditions about the beginning could be an important part of the total evidence. Unless we assume at the outset that the world is billions of years old, these might go back a long way and represent an authentic collective memory of how things originated. Science seeks to build up a historical explanation that is independent of this memory, but since it addresses the same questions (‘How did the world come into being? Where did man come from? Where did animals come from?), might not each throw light on the other?

Ah here we go. Now, Steven, why only certain ancient oral traditions? How would you discriminate between the countless thousands of ancient stories, texts and traditions? Surely not based on your own particular religion? That wouldn't be very scientific, would it?